Book Review: Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Updated: Apr 23

Another book club read has made it to my reviews, and let me tell you how intimidated I felt by this book. It still felt out of my comfort zone, but as I turned the pages, I got to love Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand.

Keep reading to find out why I think you should read this book.

Book Review: Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand | Historical Fiction | Two Arts in a World


Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer with their grandmother in Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, is caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests, a passion which takes her to Martha's Vineyard with her best friend, Mary Jo Kopechne. Only son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother who is hiding some secrets of her own. As the summer heats up, Teddy Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, a man flies to the moon, and Jessie experiences some sinking and flying herself, as she grows into her own body and mind.


When I started reading Summer of '69, I was a bit afraid that the whole story would gravitate around Tiger's deployment. It seemed that way, and it kind of did, however, not in the way I expected. Summer of '69 is about the women: Kate, Blair, Kirby and Jessie, who get to move the story forward with alternating chapters that navigate different stages of life. Filled with secrets, romance, guilt, and feminism, I felt absolutely there for their journeys.

The book is well-paced because we deal with different points of view, there is always something relevant happening--and a lot happens. There are at least four storylines to follow and many subplots. There are also a lot of heavy topics tackled and I must admit I experienced a bit cultural shock. I felt the soft elements of historical fiction because it was set around the time of the Vietnam War and the Moon landing.

Overall, I enjoyed this book because the author did a great job with character development and pacing.

My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Here is all the info for Summer of '69:

Book Aesthetic: Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Reading Challenge No.: 31/70

Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Publication Date: June 18, 2019

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Format: Print

Length: 432 pages

POV: #ThirdPersonPOV

Genre: #HistoricalFiction #AdultFiction

Series or Standalone? #Standalone

First Sentence:

"When the Selective Service notice comes for Tiger, Kate's first instinct is to throw it away."

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Keep those pages turning.



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